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Forum Post: Congressmen look to BIG PROJECTS for economic recovery

Posted 5 years ago on Dec. 10, 2012, 10:17 p.m. EST by arturo (3169) from Shanghai, Shanghai
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An hour-long floor dialogue took place today at the House of Representatives among four Democratic Congressmen, who raised examples of “big projects” in American history, and how such a vision is needed today. Led by Rep. John Garamendi (Calif.), participants included Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Ohio) and New Yorkers Brian Higgins and Paul Tonko. Noteworthy among the many examples they cited are the George Washington/Alexander Hamilton programs for canals, ports, and roads; New York Gov. DeWitt Clinton’s Erie Canal; and President Dwight Eisenhower’s St. Lawrence Seaway project.

Although three of the lawmakers are sponsors of H.R. 1489 to reinstate the Glass-Steagall law, they did not touch on the need for that action as the gateway for a new credit system. Instead, there was back and forth on the idea of borrowing the funds required, at 1% interest. Representative Higgins raised the New America Foundation proposal for, as he said, “a $1.2 trillion investment in rebuilding the roads and bridges of America. That plan . . . would create 27 million jobs. . . .” Representative Garamendi opened by saying that their intention was “to talk about the economy and to talk specifically about jobs, and the things we can do here, in the waning days of the Congress to create some job opportunities.” He dismissed the idea of sticking to the talking points of the “fiscal cliff,” or the “austerity bomb,” or the “debt limit.”

An excerpt:

Sacramento River Management (Calif.). Garamendi called this “the second most risky region in the nation for flooding and flood damage.” He said: “Should a levee break in that region—and those levees are not up to 200-year standards—people would have less than 20 minutes to find high ground, to get out. It’s an impossible situation. So we need serious infrastructure improvement— and that’s Sacramento. The rest of my new district goes further north into Marysville and Yuba City, along the Sacramento River further north, and along the Feather and Yuba rivers—again, communities at high risk. Serious infrastructure needs to be developed. Levees need to be improved, upgraded, enhanced; otherwise, citizens are at risk, just as they were on Staten Island.

“This is our responsibility. This is not only a local responsibility and a state responsibility—this is a national responsibility. This is when we become a national community, looking out for each other, in providing the basic infrastructure to protect us. We also have infrastructure that is necessary for commerce: our roads, our highways, our Internet systems, our rail transportation systems. All of these infrastructure items are critical to the economic well-being of America in addition to the human and commerce safety of this Nation.”

And you say to yourself, today, with some of the limited thinking that some exhibit—of course, no one in this Chamber would ever be accused of that!. . . But could we do the St. Lawrence Seaway again?. . . ”And believe me, the people that sent me here identify with the cause of jobs and economic growth and infrastructure investment in our country, to push us far beyond where perhaps Roosevelt and Eisenhower and Kennedy dreamed.”



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[-] 0 points by martinezxx (0) 5 years ago

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[-] 0 points by Theeighthpieceuv8 (-32) from Seven Sisters, Wales 5 years ago

Do you want to know what the difference was between the Depression and the little blip in '08? The difference is that during the Depression there were no safety nets. Many had no work and no money; they managed or they starved. No one is starving in America today.

[-] 2 points by Shayneh (-482) 5 years ago

Life during the Great Depression – Lessons Learned

First-hand recollections of life during the Great Depression must not be disregarded.

Those “children’s” voices now plead with us to recognize the symptoms of an economic CRASH and to react in time.

• Credit mentality instead of paying cash. “Don’t spend money you don’t already have in your pocket.”

• Rich grew richer at the expense of others. “Don’t pay someone else to provide something that you can learn to do or to make yourself.”

• Abandonment of traditional values and frugality. “Never buy anything you can use – only what you can’t live without.”

• Self-Indulgence and self-gratification by immediate acquisition of possessions. “Don’t buy anything until you have twice the purchase amount.”

• High Expectations by gambling in the stock market. “It’s doesn’t matter how much money you can make, but how much money you can save!”

Apparently these lessons haven't been learned - here's the link to the article:


Lot more suffering went on back then then people today will ever realize.

[-] 0 points by Theeighthpieceuv8 (-32) from Seven Sisters, Wales 5 years ago

More suffering than people today are capable of even imagining; more discomfort then than most today are capable of tolerating. So much has changed just over the last 30 or 40 years. Prosperity has spoiled us and now we are incapable of even accepting blame for our shortcomings. Because we've forgotten that there is another way which demanded a creative frugality.

[-] 2 points by arturo (3169) from Shanghai, Shanghai 5 years ago

Think so? Actually, the situation is bad and getting worse:

There are currently 17 million children in the U.S. enduring "food insecurity" — i.e., they go hungry at least part of the time — according to a new study issued today by Feeding America, a network of 200 food banks and the largest hunger charity in the nation. That is 1 out of every 4 children. In 314 counties, one third of children go hungry. Further, 49% of all babies are born to families receiving government food aid under the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program.

Of the 17 million children enduring hunger, almost 4 million live in households that earn more than the official poverty limit, and therefore are not eligible to even receive federal food aid.

All of that is today. But it's nothing compared to the horror-show which Obama's budget cuts are going to unleash upon the nation's kids.

The WIC program is one of those that will be cut substantially under the proposed Obama budget, as will the Emergency Food Assistance Program, which provides agricultural products to food banks. Upon releasing the report, Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America (which receives financing from ConAgra and Warren Buffet), stated: "As we deal with all the financial issues facing our nation, we can't balance our budget on the backs of poor and hungry children."

[-] 0 points by Theeighthpieceuv8 (-32) from Seven Sisters, Wales 5 years ago

During the Depression there were NO safety nets for parents or children.

[-] 2 points by arturo (3169) from Shanghai, Shanghai 5 years ago

Perhaps so, but I would not call today's crisis a little blip. Our economy is in free fall and it will continue declining until a deliberate stop is put to it by enacting Glass Steagall and an economic recovery program like FDR's New Deal.

How bad could it get? As bad as we allow it to. Current military maneuverings in the middle east, particularly regarding Syria and Iran, could lead to a confrontation between the US, China and Russia, that is, a nuclear WW3.

If that happens our civilization would return to the status of the middle ages.

[-] 0 points by Theeighthpieceuv8 (-32) from Seven Sisters, Wales 5 years ago

This not the Depression and with all of society's safety nets there is no reason children should go hungry. Unless their parents (or "parent" - singular) are strung out on crack, which is exactly what's occurring. And reassigning blame does not address this fatal societal flaw.

[-] 1 points by arturo (3169) from Shanghai, Shanghai 5 years ago

This isn't the depression, if fact it could get much worse than the depression.

Epidemics such as the drug epidemic are not the results of individual irresponsibility alone. Large scale political/economic and even military factors are at play.

Consider the opium wars that the British fought against the Chinese. The British won this war and forced the sale of opium on China, getting ten percent of the immense Chinese population hooked on drugs. The drug barons of those times were comparatively wealthier than today's computer billionaires.

Now the proceeds of drug money are laundered through the international banking system of the elite, earning them about a trillion dollars annually. Those parents of kids on drugs are more victims than perpetrators of the drug epidemic.

[-] -1 points by Theeighthpieceuv8 (-32) from Seven Sisters, Wales 5 years ago

That doesn't change the fact that the US has what, three to five million addicts? Many of whom have children. This does not address the many who are occasional users; it does not address the felons... these 17 million starving children by and large represent the failings of parents. And reassigning blame for the purpose of upping the volume on activism is simply dishonest.

[-] 1 points by arturo (3169) from Shanghai, Shanghai 5 years ago

As a result of the opium wars, 10% of the Chinese population, or 10 million people were addicted to opium, British, European and American elites profited from it handsomely. Some of the greatest fortunes in America came from the sale of opium, including that of the Bush family.

If those elites would have kept their hands off of China, it would never have happened. Similarly, if today's elites didn't profit from opium grown in Afghanistan or cocaine grown in South America, we probably wouldn't have a drug problem in America either. This is an honest assessment of the drug problem today.

[-] 0 points by Theeighthpieceuv8 (-32) from Seven Sisters, Wales 5 years ago

I am somewhat familiar with the history of the Brits and their opium but I don't believe it is representative of our drug problem today. There are no American elitists controlling the drug trade here; it is smuggled directly to the street vendor in multimillion dollar scores. What we have is a huge segment of our population that believes it acceptable to enrich themselves destroying the lives of others and they justify it in two ways: a, "this world of oppression will not allow me to enrich myself in any other way," and b, "there is a market, I am merely fulfilling desire."

The market itself is representative of our dystopia, the moral atrophy of our society - it's not ok to go through life high or to selfishly victimize others - the starving children are an example; the crime victims are an example.

How people justify, how people turn despicable acts into acts of defense is also an interesting subject. But one thing is absolutely certain - those few who have had the good fortune to enjoy fortune are NOT responsible for the acts of parents who allow their children to go hungry. And this transference of blame, of responsibility, is just bizarre.

[-] 1 points by arturo (3169) from Shanghai, Shanghai 5 years ago

No elites controlling the drug trade? Than why would HSBC be fined $1.9 billion for it:

HSBC to pay $1.9 billion to settle U.S. money-laundering case



"HSBC allowed more than $881 million in dirty money — much of it from the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico and the Norte del Valle Cartel in Colombia — to find its way into the U.S. financial system, according to court documents. Much of that cash allegedly came from drug-trafficking proceeds laundered in the so-called Black Market Peso Exchange."

The situation is bizarre, perhaps not quite in the way you think though.

[-] 0 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 5 years ago

They must have pissed someone off to get that fine.

[-] 1 points by arturo (3169) from Shanghai, Shanghai 5 years ago

I wonder who pissed who off?

I think the fine is just a drop in the bucket though, if you consider that about one trillion dollars in drug money passes through global banking every year. From what I hear, its the only thing that's keeping the global financial system going now.

[-] 0 points by Coyote88 (-24) 5 years ago

What about the power grid? Why does no one, Left or Right, talk about that?

[-] 2 points by arturo (3169) from Shanghai, Shanghai 5 years ago

To me its important, as well as the development of new power sources, such as nuclear energy. I think its the "new left" which doesn't address this issues, except in opposition. I consider myself to be "old left".

[-] -1 points by BurmesePython (-66) 5 years ago

Sacramento should pay to have its own levees repaired. Florida should pay for its own hurricane insurance. Those shouldnt be Federal issues.

[-] 2 points by arturo (3169) from Shanghai, Shanghai 5 years ago

FDR made such projects Federal issues and brought us out of the great depression.

[-] -3 points by BurmesePython (-66) 5 years ago

Things that are purely local should be handled by local taxation. Interstate issues should be handled by the Feds. Why should a farmer in iowa have to pay when a millionaires home in Palm Beach gets flooded by a hurricane?

[-] 2 points by arturo (3169) from Shanghai, Shanghai 5 years ago

I'm suggesting a pro-active rather than reactive approach, that is preventing the problems before they happen.

US infrastructure, overall, has been rated by the Army Corp of Engineers as grade C to D. All over the US, infrastructure needs to be repaired and rebuilt. Furthermore, completely new infrastructure, such as a high speed rail system, needs to be built, that is, if we wish to maintain our status as the leader of the first world.

If not, then we'll increasingly sink towards third world standards.

[-] -2 points by BurmesePython (-66) 5 years ago

Bridges on INTERSTATE HWYS should be Federal.A hi speed rail strictly in California should be local.

[-] 1 points by arturo (3169) from Shanghai, Shanghai 5 years ago

We need a national fast rail system in the US like China has.

And by the way, where are the states supposed to get the money? The traditional American idea is to have a national bank that would make credit available for economic development projects.

[-] -1 points by BurmesePython (-66) 5 years ago

And where is the Federal government going to get it? High speed rail isnt needed. No one will take a train when air travel is so cheap.

[-] 1 points by arturo (3169) from Shanghai, Shanghai 5 years ago

Where would the Federal government get it? Well, after a Glass Steagall, reform, which would eliminate the massive amount of funny money existing in the system today, a national bank would be started that would issue credit for economic development projects.

The government can create as much money as it wants, the important question is whether it goes into feasible economic development projects or not. Investments in infrastructure will eventually pay themselves through increased revenue, plus there would be a huge boost to the economy through the employment and development of high skilled workers.

In China, national airfare is even cheaper than in the US, but for a few years now, newly established rail lines having been taking substantial traffic from the airline companies.

Trains in the US would also take much of the cargo off the roads and onto the railways, which is much more economical. Local train routes could reduce most of the horrendous traffic jams in all major US metropolitan areas.